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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

inBloom: corporatizing America's schools
(Page 2 of 3)
All of this sounds nice –– even ideal –– until you get to the privacy policy. In the first paragraph of Section E, titled “Breach Remediation,” it states, “inBloom, Inc. cannot guarantee the security of the information stored in inBloom or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”

According to Class Size Matters, a New York City-based nonprofit educational-advocacy group, the highly sensitive information that could be hacked includes students’ names, addresses, race, ethnicity, economic status, grades, standardized test scores, disciplinary and health records, and disabilities.

In short, nearly everything that defines a student.

Class Size Matters notes, in its “New York State inBloom, Inc. Fact Sheet,” that all information that is handed over to inBloom will be collected in a “data store” with an operating system built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation, which is owned by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Class Size Matters goes on to say that “inBloom intends to make all this highly confidential data available to commercial vendors to help them develop and market their ‘learning products.’”

In the past, students’ confidential information was solely under the purview of school districts and state education departments, rather than third-party corporations that do not answer to the people. In 2011, however, the federal Department of Education, under Secretary Arne Duncan, an Obama appointee, relaxed privacy statutes, granting access to outside parties such as inBloom.

By the way, 2011 was the same year that inBloom was conceived.

As a parent of two school-age children, I am beyond concerned. I am furious. The government has an absolute responsibility to ensure students’ privacy –– and it is abdicating that responsibility to a corporation that admits that security breaches are possible.

Moreover, computers should not be responsible for individualizing instruction. Teachers and principals should. They are the professionals, and should be treated as such. Educators worth their salt do not need a corporation to dictate classroom learning.

Comments

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krtmcg

Thank you so very much for this very enlightening article. It seems almost as if it cannot be true. How can anyone take my child's confidential information without my consent, pass it along to whomever they deem appropriate and not even guarantee it's security against God only knows who. Is it not against the law for the school to allow access to my child's information without my knowledge! I would think that this information should be coming from our schools and not our local paper. Parents should be outraged, I know I am.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 | Report this
elovesme99

Thank you for sharing. I had passed this information along to one of my school board members as this 'tidbit' has been circulating on Facebook for a few weeks. It has been mostly publicly ignored in the media, with the focus being mostly on the State testing and the Opt Out Movement. I think this is a huge issue that parents, faculty and administrators are in the dark about. I appreciate your shedding light on it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 | Report this
kgdot2

The Centre Avenue PTA has been working hard to inform parents about inBloom and many other "reforms" that are having a profound impact on the current and future education of our children. A multipage information packet including letters to Commissioner King, the Governor, and representatives was distributed at last Monday's meeting. If you'd like a copy, please get in touch with the Centre Ave PTA through the school website. On June 8th there will be a rally in Albany demanding standardized test reform. Please attend school board and PTA meetings. As concerned voters and parents we have the power to put pressure on the politicians who are making these decisions. Thank you for writing this article, the press has been largely silent on these issues.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 | Report this
leoniehaimson

The good news is that four states (LA, GA, KY, DE) have recently announced they are pulling out of inBloom; the bad news is that NY is sharing confidential student data from the entire state’s public school population with inBloom, and as far as we know, has already sent much of this data into the inBloom cloud.

A bill has been introduced in the Legislature to try to stop inBloom and the unethical sharing of personal student data with vendors without parental consent. A.6059/S.4284 now has 59 co-sponsors in the Assembly and 20 in the Senate.

It’s especially important for Long Islanders to call Sen. Flanagan at (631) 361-2154 and Sen. Skelos at (516) 766-8383 and ask them to support the bill and hold hearings on it now.

Sunday, May 19, 2013 | Report this
artyone

"As a parent of two school-age children, I am beyond concerned. I am furious."

Hey Scott - what makes you think your children belong to you? Support public schools? Well...regardless of what crap they present your kids, you as "furious parent" have no choice but to shut up and like it. Otherwise men with guns will and enforce their will.

Getting worked up about the "potential" privacy vulnerabilities of a tech vendor who consolidates info from other tech vendors seems a little misplaced. If you're truly concerned about liberty as a citizen, start with the liberty to raise your own kids.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Report this
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